How to practice and warm up 101


Everyone wants to rip; young or old, experienced or not ….we all wanna shred and rip leads. We wanna show whoever is around the new 20 octave barn burner we just learned.

Ever hear that joke about the 2 bulls and the herd of cows? The young bull says, “I’m gonna run down this hill real fast and get me a cow”. The old bull says, “I’m gonna walk down nice and easy and have ‘em all”.

The same thing can, and should be applied to guitar. I view shredding as a sport and I’m the athlete.

Athletes perform and so do we. You really think Sidney Crosby just throws on his gear and it’s game time? Proper stretching and warm up is key. Unless you like tendonitis or your forearm and fingers blowing up… I don’t.

I have a few easy and what you may think are mundane exercises…before you judge – do ‘em and see where you are an hour after. I highly recommend playing with a metronome to maintain consistency. If you don’t have one, get it here

Now before you even pick up your guitar, stretch your fingers for a few minutes. I like to put my fingers against a wall or a table, fingertips only and put a li’l force until you get your palm flush to the wall – kinda like doing a push up with just your arm.

I also use my left palm to push my right fingers back a li’l and than same thing with the other hand.

Go easy cowboy! Cracking your knuckles is gross and probably not so good in the long run.

A rule of thumb I have with all these exercises is simple; play it perfect – if you make a mistake start the scale over again and strive for perfection. If you are gonna cheat yourself during these exercises…then you might as well move on and do what you do.

If you do not practice perfectly, you will not play perfectly.

Perfectly is no fretted notes, nice and clean and bang on with the metronome. If you can’t play to a metronome – good luck playing with a drummer!

1st one is so easy it gets hard after a while; and that’s the point. It forces you to focus and pay attention to details. Let’s call it chromatic hell in the key of H. Fingering is with 4 fingers ascending from the 1st fret to the 12th fret and then work your way back to the 1st fret. Start it off easy breezy at 120 bpm.

Now that you walked through that bump it up to 144 bpm.

Still easy Yngwie??

Bump it up to 168 bpm. And so on until you can’t do it perfectly anymore – now you have your goal. Keep at it, and you will get it. Strive for perfection. Push yourself.






1-2-3-4———————————————————————————5-4-3-2-3-4-5-6— etc


2nd one is same but with a twist. Starting off with the same pattern go 1, 2, 3, 4 fret than next string

flip it 4, 3 2 1 and so on moving that shape up to the 12th fret and back using the same bpm’s.






1-2-3-4———————————————————————————5-4-3-2-3-4-5-6- etc


Next up, let’s do an ascending/ descending 3 octave scale starting at the 3rd fret. Now move the same shape up to the 5th fret, than 7th, 8th, 10 and 12th – now back – with no mistakes. Start this at a comfortable bpm – you want to have the confidence to do it perfectly and sound good doing it.





——3-5-6———————————————–6-5-3——- 5 7 8 etc

3-5-6————————————————————6-5-3-5 7 8


Now let’s try a string skipping or pivoting picking exercise. Starting with the root at the 12th fret, move it up to the 13th, 15th and 17th then back.





—————————————————————————————— etc


None of these are intended to frustrate you – they are here to motivate you and challenge you.

Depending on your skill level, if the starting speed is too high, turn it down and work it up to challenge yourself. If you do not push yourself, you will not get better – at whatever your level is.

I have watched and listened to some of the most influential shredders in metal do the most simplistic, mundane stuff just like this backstage or on their bus before a show.

I remember thinking to myself, when I was young, dumb and full of cum “what the hell; where’s the string skipping multi octave jaw droppers?” I learned very quickly that to play a high intensity show it’s like a marathon; not a sprint.

Music is not a competition; I cannot stress this enough. You MUST practice and strive for perfection during your practice at whatever your level is.

I have taught for years…and whatever the skill level is, play for fun, push yourself and you will get better.

It ain’t supposed to be easy; if it was than where is the joy when you nail that 1st epic arpeggio with a room full cheering you on?? It only gets better when

you do….trust me.

Shredfully yours,


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